North Korea Agrees To Suspend Its Nuclear Program

02.29.12 | Bob Price

The joint announcement Wednesday by the two nations comes little more than two months after the death of longtime ruler Kim Jong Il, and suggests North Korea has met the key U.S. preconditions for restarting multi-nation disarmament-for-aid talks that the North withdrew from in 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called North Korea suspension of nuclear activities a "modest first step" but also "a reminder that the world is transforming around us."

She told a Senate hearing that the North has agreed to a moratorium on nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, and will allow International Atomic Energy inspectors to verify and monitor it, and to confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor and associate facilities.

 

Clinton
(AP) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls North Korea's agreement to suspend nuclear...
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Since 2006 North Korea has tested missiles, staged two nuclear tests and unveiled a uranium enrichment program that could give it a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons, in addition to its existing plutonium-based program. At low levels, uranium can be used in power reactors, but at higher levels it can be used in nuclear bombs.

Clinton said the United States will meet with North Korea to finalize details for a proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of food aid, referring to it as "nutritional assistance." She said intensive monitoring of the aid would be required.

North Korea, which appealed for the aid a year ago to alleviate chronic food shortages, issued a similar, although differently worded statement released simultaneously in Pyongyang.

An unidentified spokesman from North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in its statement carried by the state-run news agency that the North agreed to the nuclear moratoriums and the allowance of U.N. inspectors "with a view to maintaining positive atmosphere" for the U.S.-North Korea talks.

The U.S. still has nearly 30,000 troops based in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, that ended in a armistice rather than a peace treaty.